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Family funerals; red tape

Laurie Taylor hears about a new study by anthropologist Akhil Gupta which seeks to understand why Indian state bureaucracy hinders the fight against poverty.

Red Tape in India - a major new study by the renowned anthropologist, Akhil Gupta, seeks to understand why state bureaucracy hinders the fight against poverty in the world's third largest economy. Laurie Taylor hears about his ethnographic study among officials in charge of development programs in rural Uttar Pradesh. Why is it that the expansion of government programmes have failed to improve significantly the lives of the poorest? Fellow anthropologist, Dr Alpa Shah, joins the discussion. Also, the sociologist, Kate Woodthorpe explores how funeral arrangements illuminate the modern family.

Producer: Jayne Egerton.

Available now

28 minutes

Kate Woodthorpe

Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Bath and a member of the Centre for Death and Society (CDAS)  


Find out more about Dr Kate Woodthorpe 



Paper “Through the Family Lens: How death illuminates the modern family”

Hannah Rumble and Kate Woodthorpe

Presented on 19 November 2012 at the BSA event “Death and the Family” organised by the Social Aspects of Death, Dying and Bereavement Study Group.



Centre for Death and Society

Department of Social & Policy Sciences

University of Bath

Bath, BA2 7AY


Tel: 01225 386949



The Matter of Death: Space, place and materiality

Jenny Hockey, Dr Carol Komarom, Kate Woodthorpe (Editors)

Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan

ISBN-10: 0230224164

ISBN-13: 978-0230224162


Akhil Gupta

Professor of Anthropology and Director of the Centre for India and South Asia at the University of California, Los Angeles


Find out more about Professor Akhil Gupta 



Red Tape; Bureaucracy, Structural Violence and Poverty in India

Publisher: Duke University Press

ISBN-10: 0822351102

ISBN-13: 978-0822351108

Alpa Shah

Reader in the Department of Anthropology at The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)


Find out more about Dr Alpa Shah   


In the Shadows of the State: Indigenous Politics, Environmentalism, and Insurgency in Jharkhand, India

Publisher: Duke University Press

ISBN-10: 0822347652

ISBN-13: 978-0822347651 BBC



Radio 4 Crossing Continents: India's Red Belt

British anthropologist Alpa Shah visits a Maoist-controlled region of Jharkhand in eastern India and explores the appeal of the Maoist fighters to the poor communities.



BBC Radio 4 From Our Own Correspondent: Spending time with Maoist rebels



  • Wed 28 Nov 2012 16:00
  • Mon 3 Dec 2012 00:15

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